Thrifty Tip: Get Organized

 Posted by on August 11, 2008  Add comments  Tagged with: ,
Aug 112008

(Continuing my Thrifty Tips You Can Use series).

It’s my opinion that true frugality requires planning and organization. Disorganization costs you money!

Have you ever made a special trip to the store and paid full price for something because you ran out, and it was an emergency?

Have you ever bought a replacement for something you knew you already had, but couldn’t find?

Do you ever pay late fees on bills, because you misplaced and forgot about them?

Do you run around frantically looking for lost items, instead of working?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then disorganization has cost you money. If you want to avoid these costly mistakes, you can start by doing one thing.

Quit buying more stuff.

I’m serious. I know that it sounds harsh, and the urge to buy stuff can sometimes seem impossible to resist. In our society of misplaced priorities, we are made to feel guilty, or even deprived if we don’t have the latest and greatest thing. Advertising even leads us to believe that we will be happier, and all of our problems will be solved if we just buy this vacuum, or car, or perfume, or whatever.

It’s a lie.

Inevitably, that one little thing that we buy to make us happy, simply adds to the clutter, chaos and debt in our lives.

It’s just not worth it.

If you really want to get organized, save money, and simplify your life, you must train yourself to quit buying stuff that you don’t need. You also need to teach your children that they simply can’t have everything they want, because life just doesn’t work that way. I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve purchased something that my child desperately wanted, she lost interest in it a few weeks, or even days later! Now, we have a rule that no toys are purchased except on birthdays and Christmas. Bee knows that we won’t back down on this, and she doesn’t even bother to ask for stuff in stores anymore. She does still get the occasional, very inexpensive toy at a garage sale, but we try to keep this to a minimum too.

I would like to challenge you to shop for nothing but groceries for one full month. No clothes, toys, books, or CDs. Just groceries (this includes necessities, like toothpaste and shampoo). You’ll be amazed at how much easier your life is when you don’t bring home a bunch of unnecessary stuff every week. The effect on your pocketbook will be even more incredible.

In addition to a stuff-buying moratorium, I challenge you to find 10 things in your home this week that you can get rid of. When you find them, put them in a box, seal it up, and put it in your car to go to Goodwill, or a consignment store. If possible, take the stuff there right away. If not, do NOT be tempted to bring stuff back in. Remember that you’re trying to get organized, and all of your stuff is hindering your progress!

Having lots of stuff means spending lots of time cleaning it, putting it away, and trying to figure out what to do with it when it becomes outgrown, broken, or forgotten.

Wouldn’t you rather spend that time reading a good book instead?